Landfill EIS declared satisfactory
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer
A state judge has ruled that the city's environmental study for the extension and expansion of the Waimānalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill was valid and sufficient.
The final environmental impact statement was necessary for the city to obtain state Land Use Commission OK for expansion of O'ahu's only municipal landfill, near Kahe Point along the Leeward Coast.
Circuit Judge Rom Trader this month issued the motion for summary judgment, essentially dismissing a lawsuit filed by state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa challenging the sufficiency of the 2008 final environmental impact statement.
The Land Use Commission in November approved a three-year expansion for the landfill. The final EIS is still important because the city itself has filed an appeal with the 1st Circuit Court asking the LUC decision for three years be reconsidered for a longer period.
That appeal is scheduled to be heard in May. The LUC has already rejected the same appeal.
City officials had sought a 15-year extension, and have repeatedly said the city won't be able to have an alternative landfill ready for at least seven years.
Hanabusa's December 2008 lawsuit charged the final EIS inadequately addressed concerns raised by the community. She had made the same arguments before the LUC in calling for rejection of the expansion.
"I'm pleased the Court determined that the (final EIS) was compiled in good faith, meets all legal requirements, and provided decision-makers with all information necessary to decide that the landfill should be expanded," Mayor Mufi Hannemann said in a release.
Hanabusa said she was not surprised by the decision and that she is intending to appeal to a higher court.
The city submitted its environmental impact statement for a smaller project than what it actually sought in its LUC petition, Hanabusa said.